Oct 17, 2008

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

I never really understood how Brussels sprouts can have such a bad reputation. They just don’t deserve it. To me they’re little jewels I even serve as a side dish on Christmas. But since there are people out there who don’t share my love for them, it’s fun to try and come up with ways of cooking them so that those people might learn to appreciate them as well. A girl can try & dream, right?

This is a (slightly) more caloric way of preparing sprouts that will convert even the biggest hater into a lover. Ok, so maybe that’s painting too pretty a picture, but seriously, this is a fantastic side dish for special occasions. It’s creamy and flavorful. Real comfort food.

Now cream is a really nice addition to any gratin, but it doesn’t give the dish flavor in and of itself (just wide hips and a big bottom:), so I prefer to make a roux based sauce and use cream and milk in stead. You’ll never know the difference, I promise.

Ingredients:

1 pound brussels sprouts
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup cream
2 heaping tbsp flour
1/4 tsp mustard
1/3 cup cheese
1 cup milk
1 onion
garlic
nutmeg
pepper
salt

Topping:

2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/2 cup cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 (200C).

I started out by thawing some roasted garlic. Always keep some in my freezer. You can use raw garlic as well, but this just gives the gratin a great smokey and slightly nutty flavor. Fantastic combination.

There they are. The stars of the show. My pretty green vegetable jewels.

Peel off any damaged outer leaves, trim the stems and cut them in half.

I preboiled them for about 10 minutes in lightly salted water. Microwave or stovetop. Your pick.

In the mean time you can coarsely chop an onion.

Mashed 4 roasted garlic cloves. Use as many (or little) as you like. If you go for raw garlic I’d use no more than 1 fairly large or 2 small cloves.

Combine 1/2 cup grated cheese with 2 tbsp breadcrumbs. I used Gouda cheese but Gruyere is amazing for this as well. Not so amazing I went out to buy it, though. I, too, have my limits. Save a little cheese for after baking (I’ll explain later).

The sprouts will be done by now. Drain them in a colander and set them aside.

Heat 2 tbsp butter and sautee the onions. When the onions get that milky color (right before turning translucent) add your garlic. Cook until translucent. You can also add some crumbled bacon at this point (if you have any), it gives the dish a whole new dimension!

Get two slightly heaping tbsp flour and half a tsp mustard powder in there. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat.

You could do this with cream alone but I just don’t see the point in that. I don’t want two bites of a side dish -any side dish- to contain as much calories as a regular, full meal. So I ‘only’ use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cream. It’s plenty creamy, really!

Now slowly add the milk while continuing to stir. Keep a little extra milk nearby in case the sauce needs thinning later on.

Let the sauce simmer until it has a consistency you like and season it. I went for 1/2 tsp salt (you’ll also add cheese later on), a royal amount of pepper, lots of freshly grated nutmeg (that makes all the difference, really) and a heaping 1/4 tsp mustard. Opted for coarse mustard this time.

Melt 1/3 cup grated cheese into the sauce.

Now throw in the sprouts and simmer everything over very low heat (while stirring occasionally) for about 5 minutes.

Lightly grease an oven dish and transfer the gratin. I’ve used two smaller baking dishes so I can serve one on each side of the table. No worries, I have a dish washing machine! He goes by the name of ‘honey‘ :)

Cover everything with a royal amount of cheese/breadcrumb mix.

Put in your preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. After 20 minutes add the remaining cheese you saved earlier. Pop everything back in the oven for about 5 minutes. This will create a difference in color and texture. The crunchy golden-brown layer with a little gooey cheese melted on top of it. It’s divine.

This is happiness in a baking dish.


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    18 Comments »

    1. 1

      Yummy, I love brussell sprouts myself. I really wish we would have had room to plant them in our garden this year. What a great way to eat them!!!

      Jenna on Oct 18, 2008 @ 12:13 am Reply
    2. 2

      I’ll eat them anyway I can, but have to admit this is pretty special and tasty way to eat them. They’re also fantastic in a stir-fry!!

      Kay on Oct 18, 2008 @ 8:32 am Reply
    3. 3

      Mmmm,Im going to have to try this as the other half loves his sprouts and I dont!This may be just the recipe to get me to eat them.:)

      Denise on Oct 18, 2008 @ 11:29 am Reply
    4. 4

      ahh you have such a beautiful blog! your layout and design is fantastic, and dutch on top! i also say bravo to your photography skills!

      mallory elise on Oct 19, 2008 @ 4:11 am Reply
    5. 5

      Very nice photos! I do agree that brussels sprouts should get more respect. This sounds like a great way to dress them up.

      Kalyn on Oct 19, 2008 @ 4:28 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Looks delish. Like a creamy macaroni and cheese base with sprouts instead of noodles. But then again, I have loved brussels sprouts since I was six years old (it used to make me feel like a weird kid to love such an unpopular veg).

      Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet on Oct 20, 2008 @ 12:13 am Reply
    7. 7

      I have a really random question.. Where on earth did you find the spoon with the hole in it?

      My Grandma was given one as a wedding gift, and my mom always wanted it but she wouldn’t part with it. My mom looked for over 30 years and was never able to find one. When my Grandma passed away, it made its way into her kitchen where my mom still uses it for everything. Now that I’m married, I’m not allowed to take the spoon. And I haven’t had any more luck then my mom did in finding one.. until now!

      I would love to know where yours came from :)

      ~Samantha

      Samantha on Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:36 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Samantha, don’t get angry when I tell you I have 5 of them :) They’re absolutely perfect because they allow you to stir things like sauces or soups (especially the ones with vegetables in them) more easily than any normal spoon would. They sell them at a specific Dutch store here called ‘Xenos’, and they’re so incredibly cheap (I think they’re something like E1,00) but it’s just plastic. They come in various colors as well. They’re pretty much the only spoons I use.

      Kay on Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:47 pm Reply
    9. 9

      I’m not angry at you, just jealous.

      I googled the store name to see if they maybe had an online store. And, if they did, maybe they’d ship to Canada. I lucked out on both. Oh well… I will continue my search for the spoon with the hole in it. If nothing else, I sure do get funny looks from sales people when I try to describe it. :)

      On another note.. I think my husband would of killed me if I paid for the spoon, plus the international shipping, plus the duty tax (Which is really insane here). Maybe it’s a good thing they aren’t online. :)

      Samantha on Oct 30, 2008 @ 5:41 pm Reply
    10. 10

      this company seems to have some of those stirring spoons… my mom had a wooden one when i was growing up. :)
      http://www.enasco.com/product/WA24324H

      meg on Dec 2, 2008 @ 11:24 pm Reply
    11. 11

      just spotted your blog thru foodgawker and I love it. I love this — you’ve taken what I normally do for mac n cheese (roughly) and applied it to brussel sprouts. Excellent!

      Giff (Constables Larder) on Dec 3, 2008 @ 12:10 am Reply
    12. 12

      I recently ran into your website, I tried this dish first because I had bought brussel sprouts & I love it!! I love your blog and plan on making more of your dishes as I’m a newbie to cooking. Thank you very much & keep it coming!!!

      Rai on May 4, 2009 @ 1:50 am Reply
    13. 13

      Hi Kay! You made my day! I already was plan to make Brussels sprouts for the Christmas dinner as a side dish and wanted to gratin it, and now you gave me the recipe! Thanks! I saw quickly other recipes ideas, so my Christmas dinner will be a success!
      For now, we wish you a very merry Christmas with your family and thanks for being such a good cook instructor :-)

      ellen on Dec 23, 2009 @ 8:23 pm Reply
    14. 14

      Absolutely wonderful way to cook Brussels. The sauce was so tasty that I had a little difficulties to wait the family arrives for dinner:)))
      Thank you so much!!!

      Diana on Dec 29, 2009 @ 9:14 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Any brussel sprouts recipe with garlic gets my tick of approval!
      This is quite different to the way we cook them (oven roasted) so I will be sure to try them this way! Thanks for sharing.

      Micheal J Anderson on Jan 30, 2010 @ 8:34 pm Reply
    16. 16

      kay, i’ve noticed so many people dislike brussel sprouts, why is that? i’ve never tasted it, i dont think we have that here in the philippines..they look so cute! like mini cabbage..just wonderin why there ar those reactions when brussel sprouts are mentioned

      jordea on Oct 27, 2010 @ 7:22 pm Reply
    17. 17

      Hi Kay,

      I’ve been trying alot of your recipes in the past weeks, and I love it!

      These sprouts were  were a big hit at the christmasdinner, at first my family reacted like this: “eww, sprouts, I haven’t eaten them in years, because they are terrible!” and then they tasted yours/mine and ate the whole dish!

      Thank you for making cooking fun and easy!

      ramona on Jan 6, 2011 @ 11:56 am Reply
    18. 18

      It sounds too good to be true! Is there a catch to this?.

      KirbyF on Dec 9, 2011 @ 12:47 am Reply

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